With Easter just around the corner, it seems an important time to talk about pet rabbits. Many young children will request a pet rabbit as a gift, after being bombarded with bunnies on commercials. The thing is, rabbits aren’t always the best pets for little ones.
Rabbits need special care. They need specific housing. They live on a specific diet of hay, pellets, and some fruits and vegetable. If you’re considering rabbits as pets, here are some things you should know.
Children and a Pet Bunny
Unless you plan to take care of the rabbit for your child, they are not a good choice as a child’s pet. Your pet rabbit will need daily cage cleanings to keep them safe and healthy. And they may try to nibble on small fingers.
Another thing about rabbits that makes them a bad choice for young children is that they are a highly stressed animal. They need a relaxed and quiet environment to be happy.
While rabbits aren’t good for a “child’s” pet, they do make a good family pet. If you have more than one, a male and a female, you can teach children about reproduction (although you should get them fixed to prevent unwanted babies). Parents and teenage children will be the ones more likely to keep the cage or hutch clean and ensure your pet rabbit is being fed properly.
Feeding Your Pet Rabbit
It’s easy enough to know what to feed your pet rabbit. When you go buy a bag of rabbit food or hay it specifies on the back of the bag what you should be feeding them. They also new chew sticks to keep their big front bunny teeth filed down.
Hay is their main means of food. Timothy hay, however, should just be served as a snack. Rabbit pellets contain the rest of the nutrients you rabbit needs in order to be healthy. There is rabbit food for young rabbits and for adult rabbits.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are only a snack for your pet rabbit. This should not be the majority of their diet. Too much can cause health issues, including diarrhea.
Types of Rabbits
There are big rabbits and there are small rabbits, and there are rabbits in between. Big rabbits are popular right now when it comes to having a house rabbit. The Flemish Giant is a large bunny that gets up to 30 pounds.
There are small rabbits, like Dutch bunnies and mini lops. There are also normal sized bunnies, which are usually about the size of a small cat. Some of the most common you’ll see in the pet store are Holland Lop Ears, Angora rabbits (the fuzzy ones), and Rex rabbits. These all average around 10 pounds at adulthood, give or take.
When it comes to picking a type of rabbit, basically it just depends on what you want. Do you want a rabbit with long hair or one with short hair? Do you want one with floppy ears? What color do you want?
Problems with House Rabbits
Aside from needing to clean a cage on a daily basis, there are some other things to consider when it comes to having a house rabbit. Including the fact that they do eat their own poop, because they need to.
Larger rabbits need larger cages, and you may even want to invest in a rabbit hutch even for your indoor rabbit. Your bunny needs space to move around and lay down. They also need a space where they can hide out in the dark, something that is supplied with a hutch, but not with a cage.
You also need to let your rabbit have some running space a couple hours a day. They need exercise. And, many of them will chew chords and other items. Make sure you have a safe place for them to get a workout.
Pet rabbits can be really fun. While they need a lot of cleaning and still require visits to the veterinary clinic to keep them at optimal health, they do need less fuss than a pet dog.
Your pet rabbit will let you know if they’re scared, or mad, by thumping. If your bunny thumps a lot it means they are stressed. Stressed rabbits can actually die, so make sure your bunny feels safe from prey animals, especially if you have other pets in the house.
You can take your bunny for walks with a rabbit harness. You can teach your bunny to play with toys, or gives them simple things that they’ll enjoy like a box to chew on. Just make sure you give them plenty of love and give them a safe and warm place to live.